Judge Rules Against Disclosing Fraud Audit of N.M. Mental Health Agencies
Seems some action could be take to protect private or sensitive information, but not the financials ….
A judge in New Mexico has ruled that government agencies don’t have to disclose an audit of more than a dozen mental health providers under investigation for possible overbillings and fraud, because the audit contains law enforcement materials that are confidential.
State District Judge Sarah Singleton in Santa Fe agreed with Attorney General Gary King’s office in a lawsuit by the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government seeking to force disclosure of the audit, which the state used to freeze Medicaid payments to the behavioral health providers.
Only a small part of the more-than-300-page audit has been publicly disclosed by the Human Services Department and the attorney general, which is investigating the allegations against providers of mental health and substance abuse services.
The judge said that withheld portions of the audit are law enforcement materials protected from disclosure under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
Legislators have sharply criticized the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez for failing to give providers an opportunity to review and respond to the fraud allegations before freezing their Medicaid payments. The department has contracted with Arizona companies to take over for some of the suspended providers.